What to know before a colposcopy

A colposcopy is a painless procedure to examine the cervix using a lighted binocular microscope (sort of large binoculars) which allows viewing of the cervix in order to detect any abnormalities.

No special preparation is needed. However, it is recommended to avoid this procedure during menstruation because blood can hamper a clear view.

Patients going through the menopause may find a course of oestrogen treatment helpful before the procedure (the doctor is very well placed to advise as to the suitability of this hormone treatment).

You should always bring your latest smear or biopsy results, and any previous treatment records, if you have them.

The procedure is painless but sometimes requires one or more biopsies so as to examine some tissue sample(s). Biopsies are not painful either because the amount of tissue removed is so small, however light bleeding may occur for several hours afterwards so it is advised to come prepared with protective pads.

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